At this point, you might have noticed that many of the same technical tips apply to different surfing maneuvers: “Bend your knees”, “lead with your head”, “generate speed”, “do a proper bottom turn”, etc.
Even as you progress to a more advanced level, these same tips apply. The difference is that more advanced maneuvers will require next levels of “speed”, “bottom turns”, “body rotations”, etc. Here are some technical tips that will help you surf better. They apply to most maneuvers, and you will relate to them for years of surfing progression.
1- The right surfboard for your surf level and for the conditions.
Riding the wrong surfboards can slow your progression down like nothing else.
2- Positioning on the wave.
As you progress and get more comfortable with different parts of the wave, you start to realize that nothing happens far out on the flat shoulder. Stay close to the pocket, generate speed and try ripping steeper shoulders.
One of the most important progression tips: see it before you do it. Have someone take photos and videos of you, watch surf videos, find your bad habits and correct them by visualizing yourself properly doing them. Slow-motion videos are awesome for this.
4- Your head is your steering wheel.
Where you look and where you direct your head is where you will go. Lead with your head and keep it centred over your body to ensure proper balance.
5- Turning goes in this order
Head, upper body, hips and legs.
6- Compress the lower body.
Bending the knees while keeping your upper body straight gives you mobility for turns, balance, and it helps you absorb shocks when trying different maneuvers.
7- Catch the wave at the Peak.
Sometimes it’s not “what” you do on a wave, but “where” you catch it in the first place. If you’re catching waves far from the peak, on the flatter shoulder, it might actually be impossible to do anything interesting on the wave.
8- Generate your Own Speed.
One of the biggest differences between intermediate-advanced surfers, and beginner-intermediate surfers is their ability to create their own speed by throwing their arms forward, decompressing and compressing up and down the face of the wave, and using their rails properly.
9- Paddle with power.
Paddling for bigger, more powerful waves means you need great paddle technique. Make sure your elbows are high when your hands enter the water, and that you go as deep as possible with long powerful paddle strokes.
10- Move your feet.
Another game-changer. Need speed? Move your feet forward on the board. Need to do sharp turns to change direction: get that back foot far back on the end of the tail pad.
11- Learn from other surfers.
In the water, look at better surfers, how they bottom turn, how they generate speed, etc. Don’t just sit there waiting for waves, look and learn.
12- Practice rail-to-rail surfing.
As you progress, learn to use your rails. This will help you do tons of maneuvers and help you with speed generation and bottom turns. Watch any surf video and look how much the pros use their rails compared to how much time they spend riding with their board moving flat on the water.
It’s all in your head. Give yourself a goal before you enter the water and work to achieve it. Don’t forget to visualize yourself doing it.
14- Improve your bottom turn.
Even after years of practice, most surfers still have room for improvement for their bottom turn. A proper bottom turn is a big part of the difference between a mediocre maneuver and a great one. Shift the focus from the maneuver itself, to how you tried to set it up with your bottom turn. You most probably will find ways to improve your surfing drastically.
15- Have fun.
As with most of the things in life, you get good at what you love to do. Taking things too seriously can take the fun out of surfing and hurts your progression. Life is short, enjoy your time in the water.